UK TOP NEWS SUMMARY: Gym Group Reopens But Loses 178,000 Members

(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories ...

Alliance News 10 July, 2020 | 11:04AM
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(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Friday.

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COMPANIES

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Gym Group will reopen 160 sites later this month and added that it lost 20% of its members during the lockdown. UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Thursday said indoor pools, gyms and other sports facilities can lift shutters on July 25. The company said 160 gyms in England will reopen on July 25, though it noted some units could be subject to lockdown, like those imposed on Leicester. Gym Group noted that it had 692,000 members as of Thursday, a 20% slump from 870,000 on March 18. Promisingly, internal research has found 92% of members "are keen to return" to sites. The company will impose safety measures, like limiting the amount of gym-goers allowed at a time. It will also implement temperature checks on its staff every day.

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Great Portland Estates said it is "well positioned" despite challenges presented by Covid-19, which are expected to have a negative effect on its financial 2021 earnings. The London-based property development & investment company said it collected 69% of June rent to-date, including amounts covered by rent deposits. Excluding deposits, rent collection stood at 58%. Great Portland Estates said all of its office buildings remain open for business, with levels of occupier utilisation currently around 14% of full occupancy and, following the recent easing of the lockdown rules, around two-thirds of its retail units have reopened. During the quarter to June 30, Great Portland Estates said it signed four new leases and renewals generating GBP4.3 million in annual rent, and noted its vacancy rate at the quarter-end stood at 3.3%.

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Home credit business International Personal Finance said it is "well-placed" going forward as its collections effectiveness continued to improve in June. The company said it is encouraged by the extent to which the company is now stabilising into a "new normal" operational environment. International Personal Finance said collections effectiveness continued to improve in June, reaching 88% of pre-Covid expectations. It was at 76% in April and 80% in May. Going forward, the company said it expects collections effectiveness to progressively improve in the coming months. International Personal Finance said there is a continuing strong demand for its products. As lockdown restrictions are progressively relaxed and the company's collections effectiveness is improved, it said it has increased credit issued. In June, the company lent 37% of pre-Covid expectations, up from 30% during both of April and May.

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Midcap gold miner Petropavlovsk said Non-Executive Chair Peter Hambro, Chief Executive Alya Samokhvalova, Non-Executive Directors Johnny Smith, Martin Smith and Angelica Phillips will remain directors of the firm after the court requested a full hearing of Everest Alliance Ltd's application to remove them from their roles. Petropavlovsk said that while the judge found that Everest's complaints that the directors were not validly appointed were arguable, he declined to determine its application summarily and instead now requires a full hearing of Everest's application. Earlier on Friday, Everest - which has a 7.5% stake - requisitioned a general meeting to propose the hire of two new directors. The resolutions to be put forth at the meeting requested include the appointment of Paul Bushell and Ivan Kulakov as directors, the re-hire of James Cameron, Charlotte Phillipps, Katia Ray and Maxim Kharin in the event they have been removed as directors. Everest is looking to remove Hambro, Samokhvalova, Johnny Smith, Martin Smith and Phillips from the board. Everest also wants the removal of any other director that may have been appointed since Thursday until the end of the requisitioned meeting.

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MARKETS

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Stocks in Asia closed lower overnight, European equities edged up in the morning and Wall Street was pointed to a soft open as markets stagger to the end of a mixed week. "Investors have shown remarkable optimism lately, but the cold reality of more than 60,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the US yesterday has, for now, beaten the positivity out of the markets," said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades.

Looking ahead, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is pointed 0.7% lower, the S&P 500 down 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composites is expected to open 0.3% lower.

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FTSE 100: up 17.93 points, or 0.3%, at 6,067.55

FTSE 250: up 0.9% at 17,142.78

AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.3% at 882.51

GBP: soft at USD1.2610 (USD1.2615)

EUR: soft at USD1.1286 (USD1.1297)

Gold: higher at USD1,806.20 per ounce (USD1,802.20)

Oil (Brent): lower at USD41.46 a barrel (USD42.33)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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China said it will impose tit-for-tat measures on US institutions and individuals who "behave badly" on Xinjiang-related issues after Washington slapped sanctions on Chinese officials over a crackdown on Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the region. The Chinese response came after the US announced visa bans and an assets freeze on three officials, including Chen Quanquo, the Chinese Communist Party chief in Xinjiang and architect of Beijing's hardline policies against restive minorities. "The US actions seriously interfere in China's internal affairs, seriously violate the basic norms of international relations, and seriously damage China-US relations," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a briefing.

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Hong Kong will close all schools after the territory reported a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus infections, the city's education minister said. The government has ordered all schools to close from Monday, bringing forward the start of the summer holidays, Kevin Yeung said, after the city recorded an "exponential growth" of locally transmitted cases in the past few days. The finance hub recorded 34 locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest daily tally in more than three months. Authorities had taken the move "for the general good of the community as well as the health of the students," Yeung said.

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French manufacturing picked up sharply in May on April, the National Institute of Statistics & Economic Studies showed, but activity still remains significantly lower than before the country's virus lockdown began. Month-on-month, French industrial production surged 20% in May after a 21% slump in April. Compared to February, though - the last month before the start of the country's Covid-19 lockdown - output was down 21%. Among sectors, manufacturing production surged 22% month-on-month in May, while mining, energy and water supply saw 9.2% growth. The standout was construction, with activity in May running at double the previous month's rate following a 42% slump in April.

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The US on Thursday posted 65,551 new coronavirus cases, a record for a 24-hour period, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The country, the hardest-hit in the world by the pandemic, has a total caseload of more than 3.1 million, with 133,195 deaths. The previous daily record was Tuesday, with more than 60,200 cases in one day. The US has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks, particularly in the south and west, and health experts worry the death rate may soon follow the same trajectory. According to the Johns Hopkins tracker at 0030 GMT Friday, 1,000 people died from Covid-19 in the US in the last 24 hours. "We're in a very difficult, challenging period right now," top US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said Thursday during a teleconference organized by news outlet The Hill.

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The World Health Organisation has warned the coronavirus pandemic has still not reached its peak. The director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the virus is not under control "in most of the world" and is in fact "getting worse". Speaking at the member state briefing on the Covid-19 pandemic evaluation, he said: "The virus has upended health systems in some of the world's wealthiest nations, while some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means." Ghebreyesus said the total number of cases of coronavirus worldwide has doubled in the last six weeks.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Gym Group (The) PLC 153.80 GBX 1.18 -

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